Uriel Montelongo
Industry Specialist Manager
SKF Group
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View from the Top

New Model Transforms Supplier into Integral Provider

By Andrea Villar | Tue, 04/06/2021 - 16:49

Q: What is SKF’s business plan in mining?

A: SKF has new, sustainable business models for several sectors, including mining. Our goal is to consolidate our businesses with strategic segments. Over the years, we have understood that companies will choose our solutions if we can identify the factors that prevent them from achieving optimal results in safety, productivity and sustainability, among others. With our new business model, we are no longer product suppliers, we are now providing integral solutions.

Q: How is SKF incorporating sustainable practices in its products?

A: SKF is aligned with the concept of the circular economy, particularly in reuse, which is the notion that products have a positive impact on the environment. We have strategically improved our offering not only in its environmental impact, but also in cost and productivity. There are two concepts that we offer among our integral solutions: RecondOil, which regenerates the same oil so that customers can reuse it, lowering their environmental impact and costs as a result; and our reconditioning process for bearings that is applied before any major damage or bearing failure occurs. The bearing is sent to a reconditioning center in Monterrey and then sent back to customers with the warranty and conditions of a new bearing.

Q: How does the company ensure that its customers solve their problems effectively?

A: We have a method called(assessment) that identifies the needs of our clients. This practice consists of a series of interviews and the collection of data that allows us to compare the results of the company versus global benchmarking to detect factors that prevent companies from achieving their objectives. The data collection and interviews are generally carried out between three and five business days by our strategic departments made up of five specialists. In approximately three weeks, we have an integral solution for our clients.

We have noticed that more than 50 percent of unexpected problems en in the maintenance area are correlated with mechanical problems; for this, we have developed strategic business models supported by Technology As Driver & Engineering as Key Enabler that have contributed to the reduction of these problems. Miners expect effective solutions with a measurable return on investment, which we achieve through this methodology that allows us to understand the problem and its origin.

Q: What added value does SKF provide its customers?

A: Unlike our competitors, we have been in business since 1907, which has allowed us to provide solutions and become a strategic partner for mining companies. We adapt our solutions to the client, which is one of our most important added values. In addition, many organizations want to evolve toward concepts like sustainability, Industry 4.0 and AI and today we are proud to say that we can help them in this transition.

Q: What is an example of an improvement SKF has achieved in mining?

A: There are areas that are classified as concentrators, where minerals are processed through mills and have indicators related to productivity, safety and digitalization. SKF has provided equipment that sends wireless information to an operation center in Monterrey so that we can deliver data in real time. This provides operational and financial benefits. In addition, we have applied circular economy concepts to reuse bearings, generate savings in consumables and reduce environmental impact.

Q: What do you consider a top priority in the Mexican mining sector?

A: Safety is the main priority. Mining companies we work with have told us that personnel safety is the top priority for their organizations. It has been very important for SKF to understand what is really important in this sector so that we can tailor our solutions to our customers’ needs.

Q: What are the company’s near-term goals in Mexico?

A: SKF is working with the main mining companies in Mexico. We have acquired a great deal of knowledge from these companies, and we have communicated with each other to understand their problems and offer better options. This year, we want to have a win-win business model through medium and long-term relationships with sustainable businesses that have measurable and achievable results. We also want to increase our participation in the sector. To achieve this, SKF has carried out acquisitions of different companies. For example, two years ago SKF acquired Presenso, an Israeli company focused on AI. Now, our presence in Mexico is of much greater value and we can sign higher-impact commitments with our customers.

Established in 1907, SKF offers industry-leading automotive and industrial engineering solutions through its five technology-focused platforms: bearings and drives, seals, mechatronics, lubrication solutions and services.

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst